Alan Johnson, left, and Jeremy Corbyn
By Tim Ross, Senior Political Correspondent
17 September 2016 • 11:29am
Moderate Labour MPs must wage a remorseless campaign to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership “year after year” or the party will die, Alan Johnson has said.
The former Cabinet minister called on his colleagues on the centre-Left to “recapture this party” from Mr Corbyn and his socialist allies by emulating their record of opposing previous Labour leaders.
Mr Corbyn is expected to be re-elected as party leader next week, with another landslide majority from members, but he lacks the support of most of his own MPs.
The Labour leader admitted to making mistakes on Saturday and disclosed that he would be making a peace offer to MPs in an attempt to persuade his critics to return to the shadow cabinet.
However, Mr Johnson, the former Home Secretary, condemned Mr Corbyn as “useless”, “incompetent”, and “incapable” of running a political party and called on rebels not to give up their efforts to oust him.
In an interview with The Times, he said Mr Corbyn’s hard Left backers had taken over the party but did not care whether Labour was capable of winning an election.
“They are not interested in getting into power because victory is a bourgeois concept,” Mr Johnson said.
“They’ve captured the castle,” he said. “Just as the [left-wing] Campaign group carried on year after year undermining whoever was the Labour leader, so we’ve got to do the same. We’ve got to recapture this party again otherwise it’s dead and finished and gone.”
His call comes a week before Labour’s leadership election result is announced at the party conference in Liverpool.
Mr Corbyn is tipped to win the leadership contest against Owen Smith.
In an interview with The Guardian, Mr Corbyn called on his critics to return to the front bench if he wins next week’s vote.
He is drawing up conciliation deal which he would put to them, if they respect his mandate and the “general direction” of his policies.
Jeremy Corbyn and leadership rival Owen Smith Credit: Sky News via Getty Images
The leader’s offer comes after The Telegraph revealed details of plans for a peace deal last weekend.
Mr Corbyn said: “I will put it to them that I’ve got a mandate, if I’m elected,” he said. “I’ll put it to them that the mandate is about the policies I’m trying to put forward. Not every dot and comma and crossed t, or whatever. But it is the general direction of the economy and policy. And I’ll invite them to work with us.”